Argentine lithium output up by almost half in first four months of 2024

The Olaroz salt flat, in northwestern Argentina, hosts reserves estimated at 6.4 million tons of lithium carbonate. (Image by Butterfly austral, Wikimedia Commons.)

Lithium extraction in Argentina, the world’s fourth largest producer of the metal, surged by 49.7% from January through April compared with the same four-month period last year, data from national statistics agency Indec showed on Friday.

Why is it important

Lithium, the ultra-light metal coveted by rechargeable battery makers, is experiencing a boom in Argentina, fueled by new project and investment announcements.

The South American country, part of the so-called “lithium triangle” along with Chile and Bolivia, has attracted investments from foreign companies in Canada and China, among others, as the nearly six-month-old government of libertarian President Javier Milei seeks to reverse a prolonged economic slump driven by triple-digit inflation.


Last month, Eramine Sudamerica – of French group Eramet – and Chinese steel company Tsingsham announced the inauguration, set for July, of their first lithium carbonate plant in northern Salta province.

Lithium, which is needed for future fleets of electric vehicles, saw its price skyrocket in recent years before plunging last year largely due to slowing EV sales in China.

(By Nicolás Misculin and Stéphanie Hamel; Editing by Josie Kao)

Read More: Rio Tinto to invest $350 million in Argentina lithium project


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